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Why do the New York Knicks Suck?

2017 New York Knicks: What are you Doing?

On Tuesday, May 10th, 1973 The New York Knickerbockers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in game 5 of the NBA Finals. Willis Reed, of the New York Knicks, would be named MVP of the series, and NY the Mecca of basketball brought another title home. That day was over 40 years ago.

We haven’t had any success since. And to make it worse, when things are looking like they could get better, everything crumbles at our feet, and sometimes ankles. Whether it be having a promising team in the 90’s that reached the finals only to be heart crushingly defeated. Or to have lived through the last decade of being a Knicks Fan and having to watch us hobble through every season, the Knicks have been a tragedy.

Now it’s 2017, going into 2018. 45 years since our last banner day, where are the Knicks now?

NOT ANY BETTER THEN THEY WERE LAST YEAR.

There’s a rule in the NBA that bad teams get the better lottery picks and then they either use those for drafting or trade them for established stars. It makes sense. Worse off teams get to parley their positions using scarce resources. Cool. I don’t think the Knicks got this memo.

For the last several years, the NY Knicks used their draft picks on risky foreign talent. Kristaps Porzingis has panned out. Name anyone else that did? I’ll wait until you look at another team’s roster to tell me if they have because it’s almost a guarantee they’re not a NY Knick anymore.

Kristaps Porzingis in a home jersey

Please save us

I can’t remember the last NY Knick draft pick to pan out while on the roster. These struggles came in a decade when NY and lottery were more associated than FL and the lottery. Just this year we spent 71 million dollars bringing back Tim Hardaway when we were the team that drafted him. Had we kept him and developed him along with Kristaps, maybe we’d have a better outlook going forward. Sadly, James Dolan doesn’t think like that.

Managment Doesn’t Care

Last off-season the Knicks started off by the signing of two cast off former Bulls, Derrick Rose, and  Joakim Noah. Both are injury laden, and their production mirrored it. Rose has set sail to Cleveland, but we still have Noah’s massive contract on the board. Bad contracts are a reoccurring problem you will see with bad teams, even worse contracts.

Usually for a team to take on bad contracts, they trade for them or have used leverage to make the deal come out at least even. Again, NY never got this memo. We sign players past their prime or when no one else wants them. These signings also always seem to coincide with having to get rid of younger talent at the hope of getting value out of a bad deal.

Dolan only seems to be interested in keeping the Knicks profitable. The arbitrary signing of aging and non-coherent superstars are doing nothing for the team, or it’s W column. The Phil Jackson fiasco just goes to show the interest of the team is never at the forefront for Dolan. I’m not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of the team, but it was obvious The Knicks gave Phil Jackson way more leeway than he should. Especially with such a drastic overhaul being tried by him. And then Jackson was given the boot.

I’m not complaining out Jackson’s particular firing, but it goes towards Dolan’s lack of commitment to a plan and his lack of forethought into it. The Jackson and Carmelo feud should not have been public, and that’s partially the higher ups to blame. Cohesion starts at the top.

Horrible Moves Have Left us in the Dog House

Take the Carmelo Anthony trade for instance. At the time Carmelo was at the head of the NBA, and he was at a justifiably high price. To be acquired reasonably. Carmelo, with his greatness, is not the complete two-way player that you can hang both sides of the ball’s hat on.

At the time we had a cast of great role players including Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov. Now while the NBA may have evolved past the latter, the two formers are still producing in the current NBA environment. Had we just waited to acquire Carmelo instead of paying his ransom, we’d be looking at an entirely different team right now.

This problem only becomes exacerbated when former Knicks players are wearing gold around their fingers these past few seasons. J.R. Smith, Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, David Lee, and Channing Frye have all been pieces on championship teams, and all are former Knicks. All these players only recently left the NY Knicks as well. If other teams could get value out of them, why couldn’t we?

The Future

What does the future hold for the NY Knicks? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look bright. Our lack of draft picks along with a lack of any game plan are not attractive qualities moving forward. It would appear we’re just going to ride out the Carmelo era that started with promise but is now deteriorating before our eyes. But maybe not all things will be bad this year. Maybe our savior has arrived in a dark, unmarked hoodie.

But not all things will be bad this year. Kristaps will continue to develop into the monster he will become. Rumors are going around that management doesn’t like the idea of Hardaway and Melo together, but they could gel into something special. Carmelo has and will always be an exceptional offensive talent. He can be unstoppable at times, and the NY Knicks will need him the most this season. There have been some clues he’s ready to bear that burden this season. So just maybe our promised savior has arrived in a dark, unmarked hoodie.

Carmelo Anthony under a black hoodie

The Dark Knight has Risen

Until next time, fellow Knicks fans.

Markus X. Murden

Senior-Editor/Depressed Knicks Fan

Follow Markus on Twitter and Instagram @MXMurden

 

 

 

 

3 in The Key Podcast – Episode 44: 2017 NBA Draft & Trade Rumors

Chevy is joined by Markus, Nate and newcomer Matt to discuss the latest NBA Trades and rumors. Nate and Matt headline talking the NBA Draft as they go in-depth of their sleepers and busts of the 2017 Draft. The team also sounds off on the latest Paul George scenarios and the Boston Celtics leverage.

Warriors take 3-0 lead on Kevin Durant dagger

The Golden State Warriors won’t stop and can’t be stopped.

With just under four minutes left the Cavaliers led by six points for the first time all series in the fourth quarter. With under a minute left in the game Lebron James would pass to Kyle Korver for a corner three-point shot that could have put Cleveland up comfortably.

Instead Korver missed the shot as Durant rebounded and headed the other way to hit the dagger three as James contested the shot.

Durant finished with 31 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

It was a coming out game for Kyrie Irving who finished with 38 points and six rebounds. Irving rebounded from his poor Game 2 shooting as he shot 55-percent from the field Wednesday night.

James would finish with 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. J.R. Smith also had a rebound game shooting 5-of-10 from the field and finished with 16 points. James, Irving, and Smith would be only Cavaliers scoring in double digits.

The Warriors take a 3-0 lead in the series. No team had ever came back and won the series after trailing the series 3-0.

Game 4 is in Cleveland on Friday night. Tip-off is at 9 PM EST on ABC.

How Cleveland Must Defend the Land

The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a familiar place after Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals. It was a little over a year ago they lost Game 2 110-77 in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Let’s fast forward to 2017 and add an ingredient to the mix. Kevin Durant is sporting blue and yellow for Golden State and coming off a 33-point (13-of-22 from the field), 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and five blocks performance in Game 2.

What’s the quick fix for LeBron James going back home? “I just need food and wine and I’ll be alright”, stated James after the Cavaliers 132-113 loss in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

If history plans to repeat itself in 2017, James certainly has all reason to be calm as the Cavaliers ran away with a 120-90 victory in Game 3 of the 2016 Finals.

“Defend the Land”

The 2017 Playoffs slogan is stamped on every corner in Cleveland as the is city still ignited by their first NBA Championship last year.

Through two games in the 2017 NBA Finals, the margin of victory in this series so far is 20 points for Golden State. Perhaps on the bright side is that the margin of victory was 26 points after Game 2 in last year’s Finals. As the series shifts back to Cleveland for Game 3 and Game 4 there are a few key details the Cavaliers will need to improve on.

Pace

The Warriors are an offensive juggernaut and pouring in points at an ease. Of course, this is all possible and obvious when you add Durant to the mixture of already prolific three-point shooters in NBA history. However, the Cavaliers will need to play a pace that favors them. Let’s kick it to turtle mode for this one. Slowing down the pace and avoiding unnecessary turnovers can increase the chances to keep the Warriors from transition threes. The one concern for Cleveland would be settling into isolated play with the slower pace. The ball must move while the shooters are freed up for Cleveland. They’ve shot the three ball terribly at 31-percent in Games 1 and 2 which is below the 43-percent average coming into the Finals.

Tristan Thompson

He was certainly my X-Factor coming into the Finals and still remains that. His limited minutes in the series so far has not allowed Cleveland to see many second chances. Thompson is averaging 21 minutes a game in the Finals and only four rebounds a game. Prior to the Finals, Thompson averaged 4.2 offensive rebounds and pulled in 9.3 rebounds per game in the Eastern Conference journey. The Cavaliers will need to try and keep Thompson on the floor and battle on the glass. The offensive rebounds can give the Cavs second chance looks at home.

Better Guard Play

The starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith will have to improve their shooting which is no easy feat to match Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Irving and Smith shot 19-of-51 (37-percent) from the field combined in Games 1 and 2. Smith has only attempted six shots in the two games combined. They say shooters will have to shoot themselves out of a slump, however, time is limited if Klay Thompson remains hot next to Curry.

Chess Match

The highest level of play comes with a chess match demeanor. Steve Kerr returned to the bench in Game 2 and certainly out-coaching Tyronn Lue. The talk of Game 2 was what adjutants would Cleveland make to recoup from their Game 1 loss. One obvious adjustment seen from Coach Lue was Channing Frye off the bench in Game 2 as he did not play in Game 1. With J.R. Smith having no impact on the series thus far perhaps a change in the starting line-up could help boost the Cavaliers. Whatever it is, Cleveland needs a significant adjustment that may come from Lue’s call.

Will History Repeat?

Flashback to the 2016 NBA Finals. In Game 3 of the very same Finals, Kevin Love did not play due to a concussion. This served no difference as Cleveland avenged their first two losses with a 120-90 win. If this series is headed in favor of the history between these teams things are looking up for Cleveland.

Game 3 is on Wednesday night in Cleveland. Tip-off is at 9 PM EST on ABC.

Baseline Times NBA Staff: Finals Predictions

It’s a rubber match between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Our writers make their predictions for the NBA Finals, which tip off Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure for the Rubber Match

The chasing of Michael Jordan’s legacy or proving that betraying your former team of nine seasons was worth the switch? After blowing a 3-1 series lead in the Finals last year does that make the pressure to win this series lie with Golden State? With a 3-5 record in the NBA Finals, is it LeBron James that has all the pressure to increase his wins to four?

The NBA’s first ever trilogy in the NBA Finals comes with an intriguing question of who beholds the most pressure to win?

The Warriors lured away Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City last summer as the clear winners of Free Agency. Adding Durant to an already 73-win team seems as the sure guarantee that in about two weeks the Golden State Warriors will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and perhaps Durant as the Finals MVP?

We’re talking about pressure after blowing a 3-1 Finals lead and Draymond Green’s comments that he’d like to “annihilate” the Cavaliers. Even though the Cavaliers are the defending champions the Warriors are still favored to win the Series according to Vegas.

There is no discrimination against Durant going to the Warriors here but it does add to the story line a reason of added pressure for the Warriors to win. For once, James can walk into an NBA Finals as the All-Time Leading Scorer in NBA Playoffs history. There are daily conversations in the media, Facebook, and other areas of social media that debate Lebron versus Jordan. It seems this is the most scrutiny that faces the kid from Akron as he enters his seventh straight NBA Finals.

Durant enters his second NBA Finals with a 12-0 record combined from the previous rounds in the playoffs. Beyond the success of the Warriors, they could potentially enter the next season with four max contracts. This summer the Warriors will have to make a decision to pay Durant and Stephen Curry their max contract which will tally four max contracts alongside Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Could the Warriors losing this Series potentially create the idea of Golden State management rethinking if four All-Stars is too much?

There is still a seven game series to be played to determine if the pressure on Golden Sate can be handled. Kevin Durant seemed to allude that he would be unaffected if he remains winless in the Finals in a recent interview with The Vertical.

“It wouldn’t mean my life was complete. I’ve got a lot of life I want to lead and I’ve got a lot of [expletive] I want to achieve. So if I win a ring, it would be fun to experience that moment when the buzzer sounds and embracing my teammates in the locker room and all that stuff that comes with it, but after that, what’s next? That’s how I look at it. What’s next for me? But it’s that high. It’s that two-, three-week high, I can tell. You can tell when teams win a championship. I saw last year, the Cavs, they all went to Vegas, they all hung out in Vegas for a night. But that two-week high, I want to experience that, but it’s not going to complete me at all, as far as being a person or what life is all about. At the end of the day, it’s going to be another basketball milestone that I reach, if it happens. We’ll see. But if I don’t do it, I’m not going to ball up in my room and not come out. I’m going to work on my game and enjoy myself.”

A day before the Finals and Lebron James has only one worry. His home in Los Angeles was vandalized with a racial slur on the front gate. During  Wednesday’s media availability, all Lebron could do was express his relief that his family is safe and shed light on his thoughts about the incident. The media availability would turn into Lebron’s few minutes to share his thoughts on social issues. “No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are…being Black in America is tough”.

Golden State: Thine Kingdom Come

Death, Taxes, and a Lebron James NBA Finals appearance are the only three things you can’t avoid in this world.

Lebron James is one of the top 3 players ever, a certified GOAT contender, and when he’s unstoppable it’s magnificent. This is not one of those times. The 2017 GSW are the best team in the NBA. Lebron James is the best player in the NBA. One of these bests must give coming next week, and it’s going to be Lebron James.

Let’s look back to last year’s finals and that now infamous blown 3-1 lead against the King, specifically games 5 and 6 the most pivotal. Game 5 saw Draymond Green excuse himself from playing in the finals and Bogut go down. In game 6 we see Iggy get debilitated for the rest of the finals. Lebron started smelling blood, and just like one of the GOATs he is, he took advantage of it and made history for his city and team. However, that’s not happening this year and for a few good reasons. The main of which is an import from a small town in Oklahoma.

This isn’t 2016 Golden State. The Warriors have four defensive answers to Lebron James. Not to say Lebron will be stopped, he’s the King for a reason, but this series will be difficult for him like no other this postseason. After having a run embarrassing big men in the East, Lebron is going to have to go against a team built defensively around great rim protection. Kevin Durant has been swatting shots this season like he doesn’t pull up from 30 feet on the other end of the court. Javale McGee has turned into the new Marcus Camby from the bench, and his protection of the bench is going to be vital. James isn’t going to have the free reign of the paint that he had against Boston. The length, athleticism, and team defense of GS aren’t going to allow it. Golden State is going into this series with the best defense in these playoffs with opponents averaging 99.1 pts per 100 possessions. With it being lower at 94.1 with Draymond on the field, Golden State has to be feeling good with their defense heading into the finals.

Who’s guarding Kevin Durant on the perimeter? Kevin Love? Not really. Lebron is most likely to be tasked with guarding KD and this is going to weigh heavily on the series. I think KD is mentally prepared for the finals this time, unlike in 2012 (being on arguably the best team ever eases a lot of qualms). With Golden State abusing screens, Cleveland is going to need to be sharp on all their rotations. Tristan Thomspon is going to be key in this aspect. Thompson has been able to hold GS to .86 points per screen when he picks up the defender afterward. If Thompson is kept out of foul trouble, a vital role this series for him, he’ll probably be tasked with hedging defenders the whole series. Iman Shumpert is also going to be needed in this series to try to keep Klay’s quiet playoffs in check.

Something that people overlook is Cleveland’s three-point shooting ability. Last year Lebron was able to collapse the defense around him so well that Love, Frye, and Smith were able to keep burying their opponents on the perimeter. That’s not likely to happen this year. Cleveland is somewhat normal behind the line these playoffs. Love is going to need to help force that issue in the finals. With Golden State being so good defensively, Love is going to have to spread the floor more reliably. Love is going to have to be more aggressive in general in the finals. Kyrie just had his best game of the playoffs being aggressive and just like last year, it’s going to take him being able to take over for Lebron if they want to repeat as champions. Because on the other end of the floor if KD is slipping, which for him would probably be two missed shots in a row, who’s next in line to pick up from there? Just Steph Curry.

2016 saw a stacked 73-9 Golden State team collapse to Lebron James who was on a mission. This year’s Warriors team is even better than that team. Lebron is going to have to play at a level that we’ve all seen, but this time he’s going to need to never drop from that grace. There’s just too much on Golden State this time. Last year was one of the most magical, storybook NBA finals the league has ever seen. We saw a King put on the ropes and then conquer the champions. This isn’t last year.

Prediction: Golden State in 4.

Markus Murden
Baseline Times NBA Contributor
@MXMurden

2017 NBA Finals: A First Time Trilogy

“Best 2 out of 3.”

It’s a concept we’re all familiar with. As kids, we all played rock, paper, scissors, and if you lost the initial round, you would always yell out “best 2 out of 3!” in hopes of getting a rematch.

In Major League Baseball, the regular season is made up of short series between teams rather than one game match ups. Most series are 3 games long, so the team that manages to win 2 out of those 3 games is the clear victor. Even professional wrestling has a history of the “2 out of 3″ concept. A ” Best 2 out of 3 Falls” match isn’t as common anymore, but in the old territory days, it was used as a blow off to end long feuds and determine one ultimate winner.

With the exception of the NFL, all the major American sports have a best of 7 series to crown a champion, and that’s the way it should be. A 7 Game series minimizes the chances of a fluke upset, ensures that the better team comes out victorious, and leaves us with an undisputed top team for that particular year. How do we determine the top team of an era though? This last three-year span of NBA history has been an interesting one, to say the least. We saw LeBron James return to Cleveland, the rise of Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant’s unexpected departure from Oklahoma City.

So how will it ultimately be remembered? Will these last three years be seen as just an extension of the “LeBron Era?” Will Golden State finish one of the most dominating three-year runs of all time with another NBA Championship, making it the “era of the Dubs?”

Regardless, we’re going to get the most perfectly unique way to answer that question. For the first time in NBA history, the same two teams will square off in three consecutive Finals. Each team has already claimed victory and hung up a banner at the other’s expense, so the revenge factor is there on both sides. Add in that these two teams aren’t particularly fond of each other, sprinkle some of Draymond Green’s unpredictability on top, and you’ve got the recipe for yet another classic and entertaining Finals match-up.

Reaching the NBA Finals is not an easy task to accomplish. Going back the next year requires a grueling and exhausting effort. Making it three straight times is extremely uncommon. As a matter of fact, only six NBA franchises have ever reached the Finals three or more consecutive times. The Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls both did it twice. The New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and Miami Heat each accomplished the feat once. While the Minnesota/Los Angeles Lakers have reached three or more consecutive Finals a whopping five times.

That list will add two new entries on June 1st. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have accomplished the rare feat It will be the 7th straight NBA Finals appearance for LeBron James (and James Jones), putting him behind only Bill Russel, and a handful of his Celtics teammates, for most all time.

That in it of itself is an amazing accomplishment. Just like Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume most of us (hey millennials) actually witnessed Bill Russell reach 10 straight NBA Finals. So just like Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game, LeBron’s seven consecutive Finals will be the defacto record going forward. Another feather in the King’s cap.

On paper, these are the two teams that should be playing for the NBA crown. They were the two best teams all season long, and most experts have been predicting this matchup since Kevin Durant decided to make the switch to Golden State. However, from a historical standpoint, neither franchise has any business taking part in the NBA Final’s first Trilogy. Would you think all the Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird talk would have produced three straight Lakers-Celtics Finals right?

With all due respect, The Cleveland Cavaliers were nothing before June 26th, 2003, when they drafted LeBron James. As for the Warriors, before winning the whole thing in 2015, the Bay Area didn’t know about being NBA Champions since the 1974-75 season. Not exactly models of consistent success.

Logic would indicate that if any two teams were going to face off in three straight Finals, it should’ve been the Lakers and Celtics. They’re the NBA’s winningest and most recognizable franchises, and the Magic/Bird rivalry of the 80’s would have been the perfect backdrop for such a historic occurrence. However, logic doesn’t always apply in basketball, and now, two teams that were once entrenched in the lower echelon of the NBA’s hierarchy will play in what’s likely to be the most anticipated NBA Finals of all time.

Both teams combine for a total of seven All-Stars and seven MVP awards. The star power is off the charts for this match up, and the plot reads almost like a Hollywood script. Last year, Golden State became the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals, pouring their record-breaking 73-win season right down the drain. Kevin Durant was signed away from Golden State’s biggest competitor over the summer in attempts to right that wrong. His former partner in crime, Russell Westbrook, was fueled to an MVP-worthy season by what he saw as the betrayal on the part of Durant. If he and the Warriors are hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season though, then all the scrutiny and criticism was worth it.

While over in Cleveland, you have a King and his court, chomping at the bit to defend their crown against a Warriors team that many say they “can’t beat.” An aging LeBron has shown us all that he’s still got plenty left in the tank. The NBA’s young stars might be ready to take the league into their hands and run with it, but that doesn’t mean that LeBron is ready to hand it over just yet. That’s what makes this particular Finals so important, especially for LeBron. If he wins, that’s 2 out of the last 3, and 4 out of the last 7. That’s huge for a man that constantly has to defend his standing in the sport. However, if he loses, then you can already hear the rumblings. “Is LeBron’s time over?” “Can the Cavs still win with LeBron?”

With so much riding on this series for each team, we might be in store for the hardest fought NBA Finals ever. We should truly appreciate what we’re about to see. In hindsight, so many stars had to align perfectly for us to even get here, but we’re literally on the doorstep of it. We’ve had 67 NBA Finals, 19 different NBA Champions, 13 NBA Finals rematches, but as of this year, only one trilogy.

The 2017 NBA Finals tip-off Thursday, June 1st on ABC.

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NBA Contributor

 

Charlotte to host 2019 NBA All-Star Game

The NBA has announced that the 2019 All-Star game has been awarded to Charlotte. This season’s All-Star Game was to be played in Charlotte but the HB2 Bill caused the NBA to reconsider. the 2017 All-Star game was awarded to New Orleans instead as the NBA and Adam Silver played advocates for North Carolina to regress the HB2 Bill.

The HB2 Bill barred those who identified of a certain gender without the surgical adjustment from using public restrooms. The LGBT community protested the bill as it was discriminatory against those who were not accommodated based on the gender they identified as.

The NBA has recently been in the public eye promoting equality and by pulling the 2017 All-Star Game, showed its seriousness.

Silver stated the following, “While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law. Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies. All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.

“Sports have a long history of helping to change attitudes around important social issues. We believe holding our All-Star activities in Charlotte will be a powerful way for the NBA to continue this tradition.”

Source: NBA.com

 

Warriors sweep Spurs, head back to NBA Finals

Without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game the San Antonio Spurs hoped to extend their season. That notation would fail as the Warriors cruised to a 129-115 win. The Warriors would lead by as much as 22 points and put the nail in the coffin to sweep their third straight series this postseason.

Stephen Curry led all Warriors as he finished with 36 points on 14-of-24 shooting form the field. Kevin Durant makes his second trip to the NBA Finals since 2012 when he face LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Durant finished with 29 points (10-of-13 shooting), and 12 rebounds. Draymond Green finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

The Spurs were led by Kyle Anderson off the bench with 20 points. Again, unable to find any rhythm San Antonio struggled to find consistent offense without their All-Star Forward Leonard. LaMarcus Aldridge finished the game with eight points and seven rebounds in Game 4.

The Warriors have now become only the second team in the Western Conference to appear in three straight NBA Finals. They join the Los Angeles Lakers as the only other team.

With the uncertainty of Manu Ginobili’s future the AT&T Center chanted his name in the final two minutes as the Argentinian may have taken his last step off the court. As Ginobili was subbed out there was a momentary pause for a standing ovation even from the opposing Warriors.

Golden State will have nine days off as the NBA Finals are not scheduled to start until June 1st.